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Fans give reasons for rivalry

Saturday, November 29, 2008 | 6:15 p.m. CST; updated 9:46 p.m. CST, Sunday, November 30, 2008

KANSAS CITY — Quantrill’s Raid, the 1863 pro-slavery attack on Lawrence, spawned the rivalry that spans the 165 miles between Lawrence and Columbia. Almost 150 years later, it takes a bit more fuel to keep the hatred burning.

Even if it’s just a drop.

“I had to drive across it (Kansas) once, never have liked it since,” said Jim Lawley, 58, from Smithville. “It took me four days to get across there.”

Or maybe it just seemed that way.

“I don’t know; I’m pretty old,” Lawley said. “I think I was in a covered wagon. I had to go to Dodge City once, and I didn’t think I was ever going to get there.”

For Kansas fans, it doesn’t take too deep of a glance into the history books to find a sore spot in the rivalry.

“I just hate them because they beat us last year,” said Brian Rieck, a 36-year-old resident of Independence who became a Kansas fan only because everyone he knew held loyalties that leaned toward the black-and-gold. “Somebody had to make the rivalry happen. I’m more into the MU-KU basketball rivalry, though.”

For some, hating their rival boils down to simple convenience.

“They’re the next-door neighbor; you’ve gotta hate ’em,” said Terry Lowe, 51, a Kansas City resident and Missouri fan. “That’s why the game’s here at Arrowhead.”

Don’t expect Lowe to cross the state line to borrow a cup of sugar anytime soon.

There’s nothing about Missouri’s program that doesn’t make John Palmer, a 26-year-old Kansas fan from Leawood, Kan., sick.

“They’ve got a (expletive) Tiger as their mascot. You go into their stadium, and it’s the armpit of the world,” Palmer said. “Everything about Missouri sucks.”

Of course, not every Kansas fan was so quick to spew fighting words.

“Ahh, it’s all about football. I don’t really hate much about Missouri,” said Don Burgeron, 39, from Olathe, Kan. “Even if I was the only Kansas fan out here, I’d still be a Kansas fan. That’s just the way I was raised.”

The same was true on the other side of the state line, where sometimes circumstances call for fans to do the unthinkable.

“One of my former students got a scholarship to KU, and I had to go to her softball games and root for KU,” Mary Kral said with a shudder. Kral, a 61-year-old teacher and Missouri fan from Lake St. Louis, was nearly at a loss for words when she tried to describe the day. Finally, she settled on “awful.”

In the parking lot, even in the early-morning hours, it was obvious the hatred had received its wake-up call.

While Dan Watts, a 32-year-old Jayhawk fan from Kansas City, thought about an answer, a nearby group of Tiger fans did their best to help out.

“This dude’s from Kansas, he’s too stupid to answer any questions,” one unruly fan yelled.

“I hate that (former Missouri receiver) Will Franklin plays for the Chiefs, and he sucks. He’s terrible,” Watts said. “Everyone that comes from Missouri and goes into the NFL sucks.”

“Did Kellen Winslow suck?” another member of Watts’ party asked.

“Yeah,” Watts answered, proving that some rivalries just can’t be reasoned with.

LOOKING BOLD IN GOLD: Jeff Wolfert, Tanner Mills and Jake Harry trotted out onto the field and broke the news to the spattering of fans sprinkled throughout Arrowhead Stadium.

On a cold, dreary day in Paris on the Plains, there was at least one bright spot: the Tigers’ jerseys.

Once only a rumor, the mythical gold Missouri jerseys became a reality on Saturday.

Minutes later, a second group of Tigers made their way onto the field, revealing a team-wide lack of names above their usual numbers.

PINKEL PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ: On Saturday Coach Gary Pinkel entered Arrowhead Stadium showing his thanks to the university and fan base on Saturday that helped him earn a $450,000 raise earlier in the week. Prominently featured in the coach’s customary game-day suit was a black-and-gold tie.

RETURN OF THE ’HAWK: After being mysteriously absent since the Tigers’ 42-21 win over Buffalo back on Sept. 20, junior linebacker Sean Weatherspoon debuted the return of his signature mohawk haircut on Saturday.

MAKING LIGHT OF MANGINO: Kansas Coach Mark Mangino’s weight is a familiar talking point when Missouri fans pick on Kansas’ football program. One Kansas fan took it upon himself to beat the rush, however, parading through a group of Missouri fans with a sign that featured a caricature of the portly coach devouring a Tiger underneath a speech bubble that read, “MMM ... Tiger Tail!”

 


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